FOUR PAWS is a global organisation which provides direct assistance to animals in need through our animal rescues and sanctuaries, while also raising awareness so we can all do more to protect animals from horrific cruelty across many industries. 

FOUR PAWS’ projects provide urgent aid and support to wild animals suffering in captivity, companion animals, and animals who suffer as a result of disasters or human actions. 

Media Contacts

FOUR PAWS Australia  
Elise Burgess 
Head of Communications

T: 02 9198 4417 
M: 0423 873 382

Claire LaFrance
Head of Communications

T: (617) 942-1233

Please contact for interviews, images or related requests. See ‘External Image Credits’ for full list of image credits and copyright


  • Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler 
  • 14 offices worldwide in countries including: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA. 
  • With its partners, FOUR PAWS runs seven bear sanctuaries, three big cat sanctuaries, one wildlife rescue centre and one orangutan sanctuary.

Areas of Focus 

  • Animals in fashion  
    For over 30 years, FOUR PAWS has advocated against the cruelty of fur, and in that time has extended its focus to live plucking in the down industry, mulesing in the Australian wool industry and the exotic leather trade. FOUR PAWS is the official country representative of the global Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of 40 animal protection organisations, in Australia, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and South Africa.

    In the US, FOUR PAWS also works with fellow reputable animal welfare organisations to improve protections for animals and is a member of various coalitions working to pass bills that would ban the sale of fur in California and in New York City, along with a bill banning the sale of foie gras in New York City.
  • Wild animals  
    Bears rescued from tiny forgotten cages, lions flown out from zoos devastated by war, orangutan orphans raised and trained to survive in the jungle on their own – all over the world, FOUR PAWS helps wild animals in need. To date, FOUR PAWS has rescued over 1,000 Brown bears and Asiatic Black bears from horrific captivity conditions, including bears abused for bile, entertainment and hunting. FOUR PAWS has also rescued nine orangutan orphans and over 150 big cats (lions, tigers, leopards) from circuses, private keeping, canned hunting and poor welfare zoos

  • Companion animals  
    FOUR PAWS advocates for animals who suffer as a result of puppy farming, those abused for the brutal dog and cat meat trades, and the general welfare of homeless dogs and cats. FOUR PAWS’ Stray Animal Care projects have helped homeless dogs and cats in over 20 countries since 1998 and are designed to successfully prevent disease and control the population by caring for and de-sexing stray animals.

  • Helping Animals in Crisis 
    Disaster Relief – FOUR PAWS operates a Disaster Relief Unit that works worldwide to assist communities with animals affected by disasters. Our relief efforts include direct animal rescue and veterinary services, the provision of public health services and support of civil protection efforts, and the building of resilient communities through disaster risk reduction policies that are inclusive of animals. Past missions in the US include providing 11,000 pounds of food plus other emergency relief items to animal shelters in both North and South Carolina that were affected by Hurricane Florence. We also supported one of the shelters with their daily shelter operations and helped hand out donations to pet owners in need.

    Emergency Rescues and Sanctuaries – FOUR PAWS rescues animals in need and provides them with safety and species-appropriate care in our sanctuaries. Some of our most recent missions include evacuating zoo animals from the Gaza Strip, Aleppo, Syria and Mosul, Iraq.

Media Releases – Animals in Fashion